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My Infamous Father
Ever since the early ages of Civilization, our world came across many leaders and rulers of the century. Some leaders stepped forward with dreams of a better civilization and community. On the other hand, many leaders had other plans of ruling just to enforce and promote Nationalism and Fascism. As more centuries passed, the idea of having a main leader or idol can be openly expressed from an individual. Some people only have one idol, and others have more than one. In my opinion, having your own idol means that that person has greatly influenced and improved the way you think, act, interact with others in a positive way. I think an idol is developed by another person because that influential idol impacted another person’s life by the way that idol thinks, acts, and uses his/her knowledge to express their opinions freely. An idol doesn’t always have to rescue someone from a burning building or discover a new and effective cure for cancer. There are many influential people I’ve met in my sixteen years of living, but the only person that has greatly influenced me to excel in my dreams and life is my very own Father.
Being a foreign Native of Panama located in the very end of North America, my father was raised and brought up in an old-fashioned house with three other sisters, my father being the youngest. My father lived with my grandmother, who had a very strict way of teaching her children discipline. My grandfather was around at the time, but he always had personal problems he had to deal with, which meant he was gone from time to time. In the meanwhile, my father had a pretty good childhood—he had a family that loved him and cared for him, a mother who did the absolute best she could to raise her children, and the thrills of being a teenager.
When my father turned eighteen, two major events happened that greatly impacted his life forever—the death of my grandfather, and being told he was going to move to a civilization unfamiliar: the United States. I remember my father explaining the moment my grandmother breaking the news about moving to him. He was sitting on the porch relaxing when she walks up to him.
“Robby I have something to tell you.” My father looked up to see a serious expression on my grandmother’s face. “You will be moving to the states to stay with your sister.” At first my father thought it must’ve been some kind of joke, but he soon realize that it wasn’t because my grandmother wasn’t really a joking person. “Pero yo no quiero!” (This means “But I don’t want to” in Spanish). All my grandmother did was shake her head and reply, “You have no choice son. You are going.”
After arriving in Virginia, my father soon learned how to get acquainted with his new sudden lifestyle away from home. But soon enough, he met my mother at a school’s dance, fell in love, and after realizing he couldn’t be without her, he moved to Chicago to be with her. About two years later, my brother was born. My parents never thought they would have to nurse a baby, but irony stepped in and took charge. Once again, my parents were left with one child, and another one on the way. When I was born, my mother was forced to accept a new life which mainly involved being a mother. Soon after, my parents were married, and our family began to start our new life together.
It is almost impossible to describe my father in one sentence. He is a man filled with curiosity, intellectualism, contradictions, and many, many, many gifts. My father is known for his straight-forward opinions, his wisdom, and his ignorance. Goofy, yet absolutely serious, he can bring out the worst, and the best in you.
I cannot count the all the little memories of him, my brother and I hanging out and just being silly together. Since my father is a huge martial arts fanatic, he is constantly learning and improving his fighting skills at home, or whenever he gets a chance. His idol is the Legendary Bruce Lee, and from him, my father learned to cause great impact using your mind and fists. At home, sometimes when I’m walking around with nothing to do, he’ll stop me dead in my tracks and say “Hey Andrea…quick! Block my attack!” Right then he’ll swing his whole body and throw a spontaneous punch to my face. (Don’t be alarmed, we were just play-fighting). I had no other choice but to duck out the way and retaliate by dodging his punch, performing a quick attack with a fake punch to the face and then flipping him. This was always our little bonding moment—I would show him how fast I would take his teachings and incorporate them into my own technique. His interest in Martial Arts movies also began to rub off on me as well. My father believed that since I was a girl with “good looks and personality”, creeps from the outside world could easily grab me and take advantage of me. His motto for me was to “Act like a girl but fight like a man”.
Besides his skills in martial arts, my father was known for his unbelievable skills in dancing. When I was little, I used to always sit on the couch of our living room and watch him breakdance all over the place. I was so amazed by how his body reacted to the music with such melodic rhythm. He could pop, lock, and spin on his back. After a while I started to pick up his dancing as well. I was so influenced by his style and dancing that I started to fall in love with breakdancing, and dancing in general. I can say that my father influenced me in everything I love to do now, whether it’s dance or the way I perceive the world around me.
The one thing that always amused me about my dad was his broken vocabulary. Since he came from a complete Spanish-speaking country, he sometimes had to be corrected by my mother and I when he spoke. To tell the truth, my dad didn’t even care whether his English was perfect or not. He was content with how he spoke, I guess because it reminded him of where he had come from.
I can recall a time where my brother had gotten into a heated discussion with my dad on his curfew. They were arguing back and forth in the kitchen when I walked in on them to get to the fridge. “But why can’t you stretch my curfew to 11 o’clock? I can’t really have that much fun if I have to come home at nine.” My brother was set on convincing him he was being unfair. My father shook his head and maintained a poker-face.
“Nope son. 11 o’clock is wayyy too late. I can’t have you walking around late at night by yourself. Not around Evanston.” My brother started to get frustrated.
“Okay what about 10 o’clock then?”
“NO.” My poor brother began to whimper. “Aww man I can’t do anything! Might as well not go anywhere! I’m eighteen and I STILL have to come home before it gets dark.”
“Ya damn skippy you have to! As long as you live under MY roof you’ll abide by MY rules. There are creeps out there who linger behind bushes and alleys waiting to pounce on youngsters like you. And when they see you walking by yourself they gunna say ‘Oooh you sweet! Fresh meat!’” I literally spat out what I was drinking because I couldn’t hold in my laughter. What my father had just said didn’t make any type of sense, and to top it all off, he used his broken vocabulary. Even up until this very day, my brother and I always laugh at that quote my dad used to get his point across.
Besides being talented, funny and original, my dad could be straight up ignorant and one-sided most times. His wardrobe only consisted of sweat suits and tennis shoes. He had long, thin dreads that stopped in the middle of his back. Looking at them now, I was always jealous of the length of my dad’s hair only because I had to put so much effort into making sure my hair could grow long, while his just grew without him doing anything to it. Whenever we wanted to go out, he would insist on stepping out with an old sweat suit and some slippers; he wouldn’t even bother to put on lotion. My dad was very loud going into stores and restaurants, and he would sometimes stop in the middle of a store isle to do a little break dance move. Sometimes it was embarrassing, and other times I didn’t mind.
There was a time where my dad and my brother went to the mall to buy a few things. When they were done, my dad decided to drive to Seven-Eleven to buy some snacks. While they were approaching the parking lot, a pretty girl was walking along the sidewalk that caught both their eyes. Since my father’s attention was not on the road, the car slowly steered off the street and ran over a huge boulder. The car’s wheels climbed the big rock, and crashed to the ground with a loud “WHAM!” The girl watched in disbelief as my dad tried to put the car in reverse to get over the rock. I remember watching t.v. in my room when my brother came in and told me all about what had happened. I broke out into hysterical laughter.
Although my father could crack a few jokes and play wrestle with us when he was in the playing-mood, he was also very serious when it came to his opinions and theories. The one thing that irritated me the most about him was that he thought his opinion was the ONLY correct opinion, and that everybody must follow it. If you thought his opinion was stupid, confusing, wrong, or etc, he would completely cut you off. He and I bumped heads a lot because I disagreed with his theory or opinion. He would get angry and begin use a higher tone of voice because I would tell him just because he was my father it didn’t mean I had to agree with what he said. In return he would angrily yell, “What I say, GOES. End of DISCUSSION.” The one thing I’ve learned from having discussions with my dad was to ALWAYS have another individual in the discussion, too. It takes a long period of time to get my dad to understand where you’re coming from simply because he is very stubborn.
Ever since the beginning of middle school, I was always an Honor Roll student. I put a lot of effort into my studying and my homework so that I could get a good grade in every of my classes. I owe this all to the pressure of my dad. For as long as I can remember, he pushed me and my brother to excel in school. He always told us to “Never be the best, but the best we can be”. Whenever report cards came out, he rewarded us with whatever we wanted to buy because we were on honor roll. Now that I think of it, there wasn’t a time my dad didn’t reward us for our achievement. He often talked about his days back in high school, and how he graduated with honors. He was also in his school’s marching band back in 1986.
My dad stressed the importance of good grades, a good GPA, and many hours of community service. He constantly reminded us that colleges loved to see consistency and completion of community service hours. Back then I used to get stressed out and frustrated with my parents when they nagged me about getting ready for college and community service, but I suddenly realized how fortunate I was for having parents like that because without the nagging, I would’ve grown lazy about school and grades.
Having a character like my dad in my life has greatly affected me in many ways. My father has taught me how to defend myself, appreciate what you have, be the best you can be, and to never let anyone get the best of you. I could say in many ways I am spitting image of my dad because living with him caused me to pick up many of his good and bad habits. My father is my main idol/influence because he basically molded the person I am today. Even though he is a pain in my a** and to everybody else that knows him well, I can’t deny that I wouldn’t know where I would’ve been without him. In other words, if I were to lose my father…I would lose just about half of my identity.